Prestige Stateroom Deck 6
25% Ponant Bonus
Curiosity, surpassing oneself, being open to the world. Humans have always looked toward what some would call the ‘impossible elsewhere’. With Le Commandant Charcot, which is capable of sailing into the very heart of the ice, we can dream even bigger and glimpse new horizons. This polar odyssey at the boundaries of the world follows the path of the first to discover Antarctica and sharpens our senses to let us see all the riches of a long journey marked by the nuances of the ice. In the incredible comfort of an exceptional ship, you will take the time to observe the world around you, the landscapes and the fauna whose radiant beauty makes them seem surreal. Set off on an all-new half-circumnavigation of Antarctica from the New Zealand shores to Ushuaia, the city at the end of the world.
Following in the wake of courageous pioneers, explore the southern seas, including Ross Sea, which is the world’s largest marine protected area, a kingdom of prodigious wildlife. As a privileged witness, keep a watchful eye and take the time to observe the Antarctic petrels, whales, orcas, seals and penguins that are to be found here.
The attraction exerted by the White Continent’s infinite territories and their mythical names will soon intensify further. Adelie Land, Victoria Land, Marie Byrd Land. The first will plunge you into the heart of the French polar adventure where Paul-Émile Victor founded the Dumont d’Urville scientific station, in honour of the eponymous explorer. The second, claimed by the Australians, is forever linked to the name of the explorer Mawson, who defied the winds in Commonwealth Bay, which may exceed 240 km/h (150 mph). As for the third, it is one of the planet’s rare Terra nullius – a territory claimed by no State – whose remoteness and climate have kept it well away from human conquests. Bordered by the Ross Sea to the west and the Amundsen Sea to the east, Marie Byrd Land will plunge you into a world where nature has raised its own cathedrals of ice. Wonder and contemplation will mark this extraordinary exploration, a journey synonymous with a return to the essential.
Your great crossing beyond the Antarctic Circle will continue in the Bellingshausen Sea where the Charcot and Peter I Islands roll out their icy masses. Le Commandant Charcot will attempt to approach their shores, deemed impassable, before your arrival in the Tierra del Fuego.
Get insight into your destination with this video: Le Commandant Charcot in the Ross Sea.
We are privileged guests in these extreme lands where we are at the mercy of weather and ice conditions. Our navigation will be determined by the type of ice we come across; as the fast ice must be preserved, we will take this factor into account from day to day in our itineraries. The sailing schedule and any landings, activities and wildlife encounters are subject to weather and ice conditions. These experiences are unique and vary with each departure. The Captain and the Expedition Leader will make every effort to ensure that your experience is as rich as possible, while respecting safety instructions and regulations imposed by the IAATO.
The half-circumnavigation of the Antarctic, an unforgettable trip into the heart of the ice and a continent full of extremes. A dive into the history of the French and Australian conquests of the South Pole,...
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Important trip details
Boarding conditions and passenger travel abilities
We invite you to read our boarding conditions and passenger travel abilities by clicking here.
Any new reservation implies the acceptance of these conditions.
The information below is current but subject to change at any time without advance notice from government authorities. Please consult your respective government agencies for visa and health information.
Passport valid for at least six (6) months beyond the completion of your trip. Passport must contain at least two completely clear, blank, unused visa pages for each visa required, not including any amendment pages. Visa pages with stains or ink from other pages in the passport are not usable. Guests who deviate from the scheduled embarkation or disembarkation port should research the foreign entry requirements for the port country. Due to government regulations, regrettably, Ponant will have to deny boarding to any guest who fails to obtain the appropriate travel documentation for this trip.
Activities: please note that for polar plunge and ice floating, an EKG (electrocardiogram) by your general practitioner will be required.
Also, for persons under 18 wishing to take part in these activities as well as kayaking, a sworn statement from the parents or legal guardians that they are able to swim will be asked. A parent or legal guardian must be present at the time of the activity.
Warning about the use of drones: the use of drones aboard PONANT ships, whether they are sailing at sea, at a port of call or anchored, is strictly forbidden. The use of drones on land in the Arctic and Antarctic regions is also strictly forbidden by international polar regulations. In other regions, it may be possible to use drones on land if permission has been obtained from the relevant authorities of each country and each region travelled through, as well as a pilot’s licence that should be obtained from your home country. Passengers are responsible for obtaining these permits; they should be able to present them at all times. Passengers who do not obtain these authorisations expose themselves to the risk of legal proceedings.
Expedition programmes include activities such as zodiac outings and landings (sometimes with "wet landing"), moderate walks to more active hikes, all accompanied by your expedition team of naturalist guides.
Ports of call, visited sites, outings and landings will depend on weather conditions, position of ice, winds and the state of the sea. These can force a change of plans at any time. The Captain and the Expedition Leader may at any time cancel or stop any activity, or even modify the itinerary. The final itinerary will be confirmed by the Captain, who will take into account the touristic quality of the sites and above all, the safety of the passengers. His decision will be based on advice from experts and authorities.
Travelling to polar/isolated regions is an exhilarating experience in remote areas: please remember that you are far from modern hospitals with full medical facilities, thus evacuation is extremely expensive. Without adequate medical coverage, all expenses will have to be immediately paid with your personal funds. We urge you to subscribe to full coverage insurance, choose your insurance company very carefully, be extremely vigilant and ensure your insurance is fully comprehensive, especially if you are insured by your credit card. PONANT offers an insurance contract with extensive guarantees, please contact us for more information.
Ideal clothes for life on board:
During the days spent on board, you are advised to wear comfortable clothes or casual outfits. The entire ship is air-conditioned, so a light sweater, a light jacket or a shawl may be necessary. When moving about in the public areas of the ship and the decks, light but comfortable shoes are recommended.
In the evening, you are advised to wear smart-casual attire, especially when dining in our restaurants where wearing shorts and tee-shirts is not allowed.
For all cruises longer than 8 nights, an Officer’s Evening with a white dress code may be organized. Therefore, we encourage you to bring a stylish white outfit for the occasion (otherwise black and white).
During the cruise, two gala evenings will be organised on board. Thus, we recommend that you bring one or two formal outfits.
A small shop is available on board offering a wide range of outfits, jewellery, leather goods and many accessories.
A laundry service (washing/ironing) is available on board, but unfortunately there are no dry cleaning services. For safety reasons, your cabin is not equipped with an iron.
INSULATED BASE LAYER:
WATERPROOF OUTER LAYER:
OUTFITS ON BOARD:
Kayaking - Le Commandant Charcot
You will make the most of the sailing opportunities and weather and ice conditions to glide along on the clear waters or between the ice floes and get as close as possible to the immaculate nature of the poles. Supervised by licenced expert guides, you will try your hand in a kayak- a craft favoured by the Inuits for at least 4,000 years. The kayak was initially used for hunting and fishing; for you, it will be a means of making the most of your adventure on the White Continent or in the Far North.*
*with limited places available
Outings and shore visits in zodiac inflatables
Aboard Le Commandant Charcot, depending on the opportunities provided by the sailing, weather and ice conditions, a fleet of 14 zodiacs expedition dinghies will be used for outings and shore visits. Getting closer to a glacier calving huge icebergs, setting foot on a sheet of ice floe, observing the fauna up close: so many unforgettable moments that very few people will ever have the chance of experiencing in these regions that are hostile to man and home to unique wildlife.
Hiking or snowshoeing
During shore landings, depending on the ecological resilience of the biome, we will propose hikes at different levels, in the company of your experienced naturalist guides. From a simple stroll along the coast to walks lasting several hours to reach particular viewpoints or historical sites, you will make the most of the opportunities provided by the weather and ice conditions. When the itineraries allow, you’ll put on snowshoes* to set off like the explorers of old and discover areas that have barely known Man.
*with limited places available
Embarkation 06/02/2024 from 16:00 to 17:00
Departure 06/02/2024 at 18:00
On the eastern coast of New Zealand’s South Island, Lyttelton (or Te Whaka Raupo in the Maori language) served, thanks to its proximity with Ross Island, as the starting point for the British expeditions in the mythical age of the South Pole explorations. It takes its name from George Lyttelton (1709-1773), aristocrat and colonial governor of South Carolina. In this colourful port town full of history, you’ll be able to discover the Time Ball: constructed in 1876, it rang at 1.00 pm every day for 58 consecutive years to give Greenwich meridian time, enabling ship captains to set their chronometer and very precisely calculate their position.
Spend exceptional moments sailing aboard Le Commandant Charcot, the world’s first luxury polar exploration vessel and the first PC2-class polar cruise ship capable of sailing into the very heart of the ice, on seas and oceans which the frozen conditions render inaccessible to ordinary ships. Le Commandant Charcot is fitted with oceanographic and scientific equipment selected by a committee of experts. Take advantage of the on-board lectures and opportunities for discussion with these specialists to learn more about the poles. Participate in furthering scientific research with PONANT and let us discover together what these fascinating destinations have yet to reveal to us.
Adelie Land covers around 400,000 km2 (around 250,000 square miles) of the White Continent between the 136th and 142nd meridians longitude East. These lands claimed by France in Antarctica are home, on Petrel Island, to Dumont-d’Urville station, which is named after the eponymous French explorer who investigated the region in 1840. Here, the few resident scientists share the Antarctic desert with Adelie penguins, seals and orcas, as well as emperor penguins during the winter. The extreme climate of this land at the edge of the world, characterised by its very low temperatures and its violent winds or blizzards, make it difficult to access its shores, which are protected by thick ice floe. Be among the rare people to discover this unique place where you will be captivated by the polar silence and the ice reflecting the rays of the sun as you experience the Southern Continent’s powerful fragility.
Reach the inaccessible by exploring extreme Victoria Land. You will discover part of the history of the Australian polar expeditions: in Commonwealth Bay, slip into the shoes of the legendary Douglas Mawson, who created his main base in 1911 in Cape Denison, where there are still remnants of his wooden cabin. Welcome to the country of blizzards, these violent winds filled with snow flakes. Among the natural marvels of this territory, you will note the glacial tongue of the impressive Mertz Glacier whose wall of ice is cut with immense crevasses. The grandiose sight of absolute nature. Marking the border with Marie Byrd Land, the Transantarctic Mountains, extending the Andes, offer this Eden of ice some mountainous landscapes.
‘The last ocean’ is what scientists from all around the world call this deep bay that runs along the edge of Antarctica between Marie Byrd Land and Victoria Land. Since 2016, the world’s largest marine protected area has been keeping this last marine ecosystem intact. The theatre of the most impressive expeditions, it was discovered by James Clark Ross between 1839 and 1843. It was then that he discovered the enormous ice barrier formed by a gigantic ice shelf extending out to the open sea and from which titanic icebergs are calved. At a later stage, it was Ernest Shackleton and Robert Falcon Scott who explored the region and installed their base camp on Ross Island, at the foot of Mount Erebus. Weather and ice conditions permitting, perhaps you will be able to discover one of these two emblematic sites. Among the possible ports of call, Cape Adare, at the far north of the Borchgrevink Coast, is home to one of the world’s largest Adelie penguin colonies. One third of the world’s population of these penguins lives in the area where this barrier breaks into icebergs. The currents maintain polynyas there, vast areas of persistent open water surrounded by sea ice. These give the penguins access to food.
Your itinerary enables you to cross the International Date Line. This imaginary line across the Earth’s surface approximately follows the 180th meridian in the Pacific Ocean. Because of the roundness of the Earth and the necessity of having reference time meridians, we have to change dates when we cross this line. So if your ship is travelling west, you will need to add a day to the expected date; conversely, if travelling east, you will take away a day. This paradox, already noted by Magellan’s crews during his circumnavigation, serves as dramatic motivation in several novels, including Jules Verne’s famous Around the World in Eighty Days.
Marie Byrd Land is one of the most remote territories of our planet’s most inaccessible continent. It is a real privilege to just be able to contemplate its shores! Between the Ross Sea and its large shelf to the east and Bellingshausen Sea to the west, the frozen coastlines of these lands are bordered by the Amundsen Sea, partially covered by a thick ice floe. Stretching over more than a million km2 (over 620,000 square miles) in Western Antarctica, its ground is also isolated from the rest of the continent by the Transantarctic Mountains. It is certainly this geographic remoteness and its harsh climate that have made it one of our planet’s rare Terra nullius, a territory claimed by no State. In 1929, Marie Byrd Land got its name from Admiral Richard E. Byrd, in honour of his wife, following his expedition to the region. The exploration of its ice-sculpted landscapes will plunge you into the infinite Antarctic desert, where penguins, seals, whales and orcas are the only living souls. Depending on the time and weather conditions, your exploration of the region will take you towards a string of islands which, although little-known, remain fascinating: Siple Island and its eponymous mount, resulting from an old volcano and Clark Island.
The great Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen – famous as one of the first five men to reach the geographic South Pole – gave his name to this southern sea in 1929, following an expedition in its waters. Almost entirely frozen by a thick ice floe, Amundsen Sea stretches along Marie Byrd Land in Antarctica, between Bellingshausen Sea to the west and the Ross Sea to the east. The monumental icebergs are all that break the monotony of the infinite ice floe here: let yourself be immersed in a feeling of tranquillity before this vastness. These privileged moments sailing in the Amundsen Sea are opportunities to make the most of the original equipment and spaces on Le Commandant Charcot. Find yourself in this refined cocoon. Nourish yourself with the knowledge of the scientists and expert naturalists, who provide unique support during your polar cruise. Or simply contemplate the fascinating and captivating decor from the ship’s exterior decks.
You will then head for the legendary Peter I Island. Located 450 km away from the Atlantic coast, it was discovered in 1821 by the Russian explorer Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen, who named it in honour of the Russian tsar Peter the Great. In 1909, Captain Charcot sighted it for the first time from aboard the Pourquoi Pas ?, but was unable to land there: “In the parting mists, one or two miles away, an enormous black mass shrouded in clouds appears suddenly before us: it is Peter I Island.” Surrounded by pack ice and with about 95% of its surface covered by ice, this volcanic island, whose highest peak reaches 1,640 metres, is protected by ice cliffs some 40 metres tall, making any approach difficult.
Stretching from the west of the Antarctic Peninsula to the Amundsen Sea, the Bellingshausen Sea was named after the Russian admiral and explorer who has been attributed the first confirmed sighting of mainland Antarctica, in 1820. Among others, its waters surround two of the Antarctic’s largest islands: Alexander Island and Thurston Island. You will explore this sea amid ice floe, blocks of sea ice and majestic icebergs. The coastal areas along the Bellingshausen Sea are also renowned as the home of colonies of emperor penguins. Depending on the month of the southern summer, you will perhaps be lucky enough to observe isolated adults, adolescents seeking emancipation or recently independent new adults.
When he discovered this island surrounded by sea ice in 1910 from aboard the Pourquoi Pas ? as he mapped Alexander Island, Jean-Baptiste Charcot had not be able to get less than 40 miles away from it. Situated in a zone that experiences frequent low-pressure systems and regular cloud cover, the island remains in many ways an enigma. It is entirely covered in ice and sheer cliffs, with the exception of the rocky outcrops extending over a dozen kilometres in the far north-west. The ice in the narrowest part of Wilkins Sound has been cracking in recent times, thus officially detaching this island from its neighbour, Alexander Island, lying 50 km away. Very few people have landed on this largely untouched island, whose waters attract numerous seabirds, such as petrels, Antarctic terns and skuas.
The icebergs are each more majestic than the next and scattered around the deep and intense blue waters of Marguerite Bay, one of the most beautiful regions in the Antarctic. It is delimited in the north by the mountainous Adelaide Island, in the south by George VI Sound and Alexander Island, and in the east by the Fallières Coast. Charcot named it after his wife during his second expedition to the Antarctic between 1908 and 1910. In 1909, in the southern summer when the skies are at their clearest, he led an important scientific mission to map and study this region. The bay is home to a number of cetaceans and you may get the chance to observe leopard seals or Adelie penguins.
If there is one place, one sea, one waterway dreaded by tourists, researchers and hardened seafarers alike, it is undoubtedly Drake Passage. Situated at the latitude of the infamous Furious Fifties winds, between Cape Horn and the South Shetland Islands, it is the shortest route to connect Antarctica to South America. Seasoned navigators will tell you that you must earn your visit to the White Continent! As the Antarctic convergence zone where cold currents rising up from the South Pole meet warmer equatorial water masses, Drake Passage harbours a very diverse marine fauna. Don't forget to look to the sky to catch a glimpse of elegant albatross and Cape petrels, playfully floating about in the wind around your ship.
Arrival 03/03/2024 early morning
Disembarkation 03/03/2024 at 07:00
Capital of Argentina's Tierra del Fuego province, Ushuaia is considered the gateway to the White Continent and the South Pole. Nicknamed “El fin del mundo” by the Argentinian people, this city at the end of the world nestles in the shelter of mountains surrounded by fertile plains that the wildlife seem to have chosen as the ultimate sanctuary. With its exceptional site, where the Andes plunge straight into the sea, Ushuaia is one of the most fascinating places on earth, its very name evocative of journeys to the unlikely and the inaccessible…
For your serenity, PONANT has selected a flight and provides the following transfers.
Disembarkation Day – Ushuaia/Santiago
Meet and greet at the port (English-speaking assistance).
Transfer to the airport in time for check-in of the flight Ushuaia/Santiago selected by PONANT in economy class.
Approximate flight duration: 3 hours
Seats in business class may be available, please contact your travel agent.
It is highly recommended to have an international inbound flight the day after PONANT selected flight.
Your programme includes:
Your programme does not include:
Programme is subject to change.
To know your PONANT flight schedule, please contact your travel agent; it is also indicated on your electronic ticket included in your travel documents.
Realise your dream of adventure in the polar regions ! From your ship’s deck, aboard a Zodiac® inflatable or from land, discover the icy vastness and the fauna of Antarctica (humpback whales, seals, penguins and more) or the Arctic's fjords, glaciers and icebergs in shifting colours, not to mention the polar bears, the variety of wildlife and the special moments shared with the locals. Our team of naturalist guides share their knowledge with you during varied lectures about the fauna, the flora, the history of great explorations, geology and climatology. Thanks to its conscientiousness and to the responsible approach that is its hallmark, PONANT has been a leader and expert in cruises to these destinations for more than 20 years.
No single supplement
FREE SINGLE SUPPLEMENT *
*The supplement for single usage of a double cabin is waived, according to availability and staterooms categories.